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Principal Investigator



Laura C.
 Alonso, MD

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation Term Chair in Diabetes, Director, Beta Cell Biological Studies, Diabetes Center of Excellence at University of Massachusetts Medical School
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The main focus of our lab is to understand which pathways guide beta cell proliferation, to find approaches to make more beta cells, to prevent or treat diabetes. 

As a practicing endocrinologist, I help patients manage their diabetes and its complications. Diabetes results from beta cell failure to meet insulin demand. I believe the best long-term strategy to fix diabetes is restoring pancreatic beta cell mass and function. 

Between 2000-2005, as an endocrinology fellow, I had the great fortune to train with Elaine Fuchs, Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientist and recipient of a National Medal of Science.  As a postdoc and then Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, under the guidance of Andrew Stewart, I entered the field of islet biology.

I entered the islet field with an NIH K08-award to develop an in vivo mouse hyperglycemia model, through direct intravenous infusion. This versatile model is useful for mouse genetic studies, parallel in vivo and in vitro studies, co-infusion of drug or other nutrients, in vivo exposure of engrafted human islets.

In Pittsburgh, an NIH K08-award funded development of a mouse hyperglycemia model, through direct intravenous infusion of glucose. This versatile model is useful for mouse genetic studies, parallel in vivo and in vitro studies, co-infusion of drug or other nutrients, and in vivo exposure of engrafted human islets.

Our most exciting observation, published in the JCI, identified the beta cell Atf6 Unfolded Protein Response pathway as a sensor of hyperglycemia that triggers beta cell proliferation.

Education:

B.A. Biochemistry, Harvard College
M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 
Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Chicago Hospitals
Fellowship, Endocrinology, University of Chicago Hospitals 
Research Fellowship, Stem Cell Biology, Rockefeller University

Honors:

1997 - Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical Honor Society
2009 - Present - NIH Reviewer: Intramural Program (2009), SBIR/STTR ZRG1 EMNR-E (2011), AREA program (2012), ZDK1 GBB (2012), ZRG1-EMNR-S-10 (2014), CADO (2014), ZRG1-EMNR-S-02 (2015), ZDK1-GRB-7-O1 (2015), MCE (2016), MCE (2016), ZRG1 EMNR-W (2016), Standing Member, NIH R13 Conference grant review panel, Standing Member, NIH/NIDDK MCE Study Section panel
2013-2016 - Editorial Board, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
2015-Present - The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation Term Chair in Diabetes, Fuller Foundation
2016-Present - Editorial Board, FASEB Journal
2017-Present - Editorial Board, Journal of Biological Chemistry
2017-Present - Editorial Board, Diabetes Journal
2018-Present - Associate Editor, Physiological Reports

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